I've been playing this game for about six weeks. You may think that's awful soon to be writing a guide, and in that you're wrong : I'm exactly old enough to know what works and doesn't work at the very beginning, and exactly young enough to still remember what would be the questions a noob would want answered. My grasp of the constraints and mechanics affecting the noob's life aren't vague remnants from 2007, eighteen major revisions ago.
That aside, my position is unique in that I am an Internet powerhouse, which obviously bleeds into any online activity. While it's true that my EVE account is worth north of 20 billion ISK within the 2nd month of me playing, this is only the case because I'm one of the major players in Bitcoin, which makes me economically a lot larger than all of EVE put together. While it's true that I've created a thriving corporation within weeks of my very first login, this is mostly because a lot of people know me, and trust me, and tend to follow my calls to action.
These together give me a number of very practical advantages. When some random awoxer popped my Retriever I simply shrugged, ordered another ten and kept right on doing what I was doing. When I felt like flying a Navy Drake, I flew a Navy Drake. As a <1 mn SP character, which mostly went to industry.i When I felt like taking a Raven to low sec I took a Raven to low sec.ii When I felt like putting a POS online, I put a POS online. Not the small and not the medium version, I simply bought 12 Advanced Mobile Laboratories (~1bn) from Jita, packed them together with a tower and paid someone in Red Frog 50mn to deliver the lot. Then I discovered I can't anchor them, and so I simply paid 200mn for a custom made corporation that could anchor them. On it goes.
While you won't likely be able to reproduce all of that on your own, you won't likely need to, either. After all, that's why you're here.
If you've just started playing the game, the one question that needs an answer is whether you PvP or PvE. This is something you should already know about yourself, provided you're merely new at EVE, not new at life in general.iii Have the answer to this question ready as you prepare your avatar's ponytail, eye makeupiv and whatnot, you will need it later.
The best race to be playing is Caldari, no ifs or buts about it. Should you later decide you wish to fly some other race's ships that's easily done by simply learning the respective skills. Meanwhile Caldari is by far the most populous of the four racesv and this correct choice gives you access to Jitavi, by far the most liquid marketplace in all EVE.
Once the game loads immediately open up your Character screen, click on Attributes and allocate your attributes for the very first time. The reason to do this right off is that you get one change per year and the timer only starts once you make the first allocation, so no point in wasting time. If PvP you put all in Willpower and the remainder in Perception. If PvE you put all in Intelligence and the remainder in Memory. There's no maybes or perhaps at work here, this is what it is and this is what you do. Don't touch the bonus remaps for the first three months of play no matter what.
That done, your first order of business, irrespective of any considerations whatsoever, is completing your set of ten career missions issued to you in the system of your birth. Cash Flow For Capsuleers and all that stuff.vii Once you're done with your birthplace travel to the other 2 systemsviii and do the same missions over again. If you "don't feel like it" or think "this is boring" get the fuck lost. EVE is certainly not a game for you.
Outside of training mandated by the career agents and whatever you may wish to do on the side, you want to go straight for Battlecruiser level 1.ix Yes, even if you think you're a pacifist. As this progresses upgrade your ships as you can. You should be flying a Merlin within your first hour of play. Replace it with a Moa as soon as possible.x
Once you have Battlecruiser 1 you are before the first choice in your game life.
If you want to PvP, look at this map, pick an aliance that you like and go join them. That's right, you have no further business in high sec space for at least one full year, sell everything in storage, equip a Merlin with 4 webs and take off. Go hang out with your corp, do what they tell you, come back when you need a wife or something.
If you want to PvE, it's time to move to the Retriever. This requires Industry 5 on top of Science 4 and Mining 4, so you'd better have picked Intelligence / Memory above. Find yourself a nice trade corporation, such as for instance 1Bitcoin, and chill out. With the exception of occasional Wormhole mining raids you will probably not leave high sec space for the next year or so.xi
Once you're in your Retriever you can count on ~10 mn ISK an hour with minimal interaction, just set your miners, tab out of game, come back when the girl says "This asteroid has been depleted". Reset the miners, alt tab again and so on. An average day should be 50-100 million ISK, just find a nice quiet system a little out of the way.xii You can keep doing this indefinitely while building your manufacturing skills, researching blueprints etc. If you do intend to keep doing it indefinitely you should probably research Refining and Refinery Efficiency enough to allow you to use the mining crystals relevant for whatever you're mining (Scordite and Pyroxeres, currently, as they're the best high sec ores plus some Hedbergite and Hemorphite if you do a lot of Wormholes.)
A third, perfectly feasible path is exploration. You can equip a Heron with probing gear and go raiding data/relic sites in low and null sec. Expect to lose a lot of ships, but since the Heron plus fits comes to two-three million tops whereas a single site may yield 100mn + it's certainly very lucrative. A day spent actively searching with the Heron should probably yield 1-200 million on average, making it about twice as lucrative as mining, but without any of the relaxing AFKing mining allows.
Mission running in PvE is specifically not worth the hassle, as L4 missions aren't something you can touch within your first 3-6 months no matter how much ISK you have availablexiii and L3 missions make you about as much as you'd make mining, with the considerable drawback that you can't AFK. Mission running is a very good earner in incursions, but you absolutely need to be in a fleet to participate, and you won't make it into an incursion fleet without T2 ships with T2 fits and a lot of experience and connections.
Contrary to what you may think, trading isn't a profession for you. In order to be able to turn a reasonable profit trading you need a lot of experience with the game, knowing what's what, which items sell and which don't, in what volumes, which are approaching secular tops and which are going towards bottoms etc. It also requires significant capital, and so unless you're extremely dedicated to being a trader for some sort of meta reason this won't likely be either successful or satisfying.
Hauling is also not something you'd likely do, the people with very large ships (think 7-800`000 m3 available) have the market cornered, it currently costs about 0.67 ISK per m3 per jump to have stuff moved around. That means your maxed out Iteron or ex-Badgerxiv will net you something like 1-2 million an hourxv if you don't AFK (or about half that if you do).
Finally, a word on planning : it's great, but don't overdo it! If you join thinking you will learn how to fly a Tengu and join your friends in that capacity you're in for a very rude awakening. By the time your training is done the Tengu might have been nerfed, or everyone might have moved on to some other activity etc. This happens, ships change all.the.time, missiles used to be great, now they suck, Iterons used to be the best in class, now they're not, EVE is a game in flux. Because of this, if you do more preparing to play than actual playing you're likely to grow increasingly frustrated and eventually leave in anger. Save yourself the anger, leave now or else learn to play instead of just planning how you will play.
Even more finally, a word on ships : don't fly faction anything, don't bother even training Battleship 1, it's just not worth it for you yet. As long as what you're fitting are T1 modules you don't want to be flying a ship more expensive than 10-20 million. The Ferox and the Retriever are as far as you should, or indeed need to go. Don't waste your time trying to skill up for a Hulk : it's only really useful in large mining fleets which only really happen in controlled null space.
EVE is an extremely boring game. CCP runs a sort of BYOB service, really, in that they don't provide any real content, they don't provide interesting anything, they don't provide the fun. It's your job to make the excel spreadsheet into some sort of story, it's your job to make the otherwise patently retarded, repetitive and jarringly meaningless sandbox into something you feel fulfilled by. This has the major advantage that it repels the children, used as they are to being catered to, entertained and generally given a shit about. That advantage aside, however, you're still left with the problem : on its own, EVE is about as entertaining as the average table is nourishing. If you can be your own entertainment you might have found something here, but otherwise keep looking.———
- It got popped. By rats. [↩]
- It got popped by some Russian guy who figured I'll pay him to not blow my ship. I don't deal with terrorists, and I have plenty more Ravens - in fact I manufacture them. [↩]
- If you're "not sure" it's PvE. [↩]
- Everyone makes women toons. It's just what's done. Men flying men are gay. [↩]
- About 60% of all players are Caldari. CCP came up with the noobish idea of making the races different in name only, which obviously results in players picking one to be "the race" and leaving the other three as mere cosmetic exoticisms. [↩]
- One word on scams : they only work on the stupid. Don't be stupid and they won't work on you. [↩]
- A word on mining mission asteroids : don't bother. The best you can do at this time is a Venture, which does something like 500m3 of ore per minute. Within days you will be safely ensconced in your Retriever doing at least twice that, if not more. Why waste your time running at half speed ? [↩]
- The Caldari missions happen in Akiainavas, Jouvulen and Uitra. [↩]
- This requires Spaceship Command level 3 and Frigate, Destroyer and Cruiser also level 3. [↩]
- Stick with the Hybrid ships, they're by far the better choice. The missiles were recently nerfed and on top of that the Hybrid mediums got a heavy +15% to damage yesterday. [↩]
- Well, you probably will do it out of curiosity, get your ship popped and learn the lesson the hard way. [↩]
- The three career systems are always mined barren, do a little high sec exploring. [↩]
- Read : how much you play. Basically EVE comes down to two components, ISK which is a measure of how much you've played and SP which is a measure of how long you've been playing. Both put constraints on the content available to you. [↩]
- They're called Tayra as of yesterday. And speaking of which, here's a funny story : when I started the only good low level haulers were the Gallente ones, doing up to 40k m3 if fully decked out. The Caldari ones sucked, doing at most about half that. Too lazy to learn Gallente Industrial skill and also motivated by an ideological hatred of the Gallente (they're the hippie race!) I just ignored the matter entirely, to my benefit because they buffed the Badger all the way to 95% of the Iteron, saving me the half hour needed to learn a new skill to level 1. Thank you, CCP. [↩]
- 35k m3 taking about one minute per jump at 0.67 ISK per m3. It's what it is. [↩]